Originally posted on Monday, Novermber 8 on leanonlife.com
The weather is getting colder, and indoor heating systems every where are being frantically switched on to offer warm relief from the chill outside. But with warm indoor air comes dry indoor air, and with the dry air comes dry, flaky, itchy, cracked, uncomfortable and unattractive skin issues.
Dry skin sufferers (most of us, come winter time) usually seek respite with the constant re-application of store-bought moisturizers and balms, but most of these are expensive, full of chemicals, and don’t nip the problem in the bud. Instead, follow these natural, healthy lifestyle tips, that will help you and your skin survive through these dry and cold winter months unscathed. Each health solution below can help bring your skin the relief it deserves, while also helping it look and feel healthier, so that you can enjoy the winter season without itchy, uncomfortable and unsightly skin cracking and flaking.
Health Solution #1: Use your soap sparingly.
This doesn’t mean to abandon hygiene or to stop bathing through the winter. Certainly, you should wash your hands (it’s flu season) and maintain your hygiene (no one likes a smelly friend or co-worker). Keep in mind, however, that certain soaps will dry out your skin more than others. Opt for pure soaps that are free of artificial fragrances, and don’t use antibacterial soaps every time you wash. Only use antibacterial soap where you need to (in public places, or just returning from them), and when necessary.
Health Solution #2: Invest in a humidifier.
One of the reasons why your skin becomes especially dry and irritated in the winter is become of the cold, dry air. To make matters worse, when you seek cover from the winter chill in your home or the office, the heating system that keeps you warm also unfortunately sucks moisture out of the air. The result? Even more dry skin. While it wouldn’t be cost effective to have a humidifier in every room, treat yourself to a good quality humidifier and keep it in your bedroom. In other rooms that you spend a lot of time in, keep bowls of water and potted plants nearby. Another inexpensive tool called a hygrometer allows you to track humidity levels; your indoor humidity goal should be about 50 percent.
Health Solution #3: Don’t take steaming hot showers.
For some, a steamy shower is a daily ritual, but showering in water that is very hot can actively rid your body of its natural oil barrier. Without this barrier, your skin is unable to effectively trap moisture and keep your skin smooth, leaving it dry and itchy. Take showers that are comfortably warm, and your bath or shower shouldn’t last more than 5 or ten minutes. Instead of roughly toweling off, pat your skin dry and remember to moisturize.
Health Solution #4: Moisturize with Natural, Chemical-free, Non-irritating Products.
This recommended health solution for your skin is more like a golden rule. Rich moisturizers, like shea butter or glycerin, are great against parched, dry skin.
Some of the best moisturizing agents are ones that you can find at the grocery store, 100 percent natural, free of chemicals, additives, irritants or side effects (providing that you’re not allergic to these foods). Try slathering 100 percent coconut oil or almond oil on your lips, face, hands, feet and everywhere else on your body – it’ll absorb very quickly, so you don’t have to worry about looking shiny, and they also leave a pleasant scent on your skin. For people who are prone to eczema when their skin gets very dry, try rubbing on a natural oil that contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), such as evening primrose oil, borrage oil or black currant seed oil.
Other DIY natural health solutions for dry skin include avocado and oatmeal scrubs, which help to moisturize dry skin with natural essential oils while also providing natural healing properties. It’s also importance to exfoliate dry skin, gently removing the build up of dirty and old, dull skin while being careful not to damage the new skin underneath. You can gently exfoliate with a damp towel and a natural, easy-to-make ground almond and sugar scrub.
Health Solution #5: Create an Easy-Access Moisturizing Routine.
Create a moisturizing routine. After stepping out of the bath or shower and gently patting your skin dry, apply your moisturizer to slightly damp skin. This allows your skin to trap the moisture more easily. If your hands are particularly dry in the winter (or in general), keep a bottle of moisturizer by the sink in your bathroom and kitchen, purse, or desk drawer, and moisturize after each and every time you wash.
Health Solution #6: Healthy Skin Starts From the Inside-Out.
Creating healthy, supple skin isn’t only about what you slather on top of it; it’s also about what you feed it, providing it with the healthy nutrients it needs to stay strong and not dry out from the elements. Eat foods that contain healthy fatty acids, such as fish oils, coconut oil, avocado, cold pressed seed oils, foods rich in omega-3, etc.. And keep drinking water; make sure you are getting no less than 8 glasses a day.